Venue: Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit
Date: 23rd March 2013
Discs Tested: Alcon Superkit 2014
Brake Pads Tested: Pagid RS29
Ambient temperature: 7c
Track temperature: 6c
Weather: Sunny with a few showers
Drivers: Jake Hill for the professional view and John Miskin for a track day enthusiast
The test was carried out with the help of Iain Litchfield and his team who fitted the complete kit one week prior to the test. Lap timing is forbidden and the car was equipped with a V-Box that collected the data which was downloaded later.
This test was done after John’s car (nurburgringgtr) had managed to destroy both front and rear discs on several occasions in 2013 over numerous track events and some trips to the Ring. The comments are for the information that the GTROC members require, and may not be scientific but are certainly a good evaluation for those that regularly track their GT-R’s, and use them under high speed braking conditions and sometimes without the benefit of warm up laps and cooling down laps.
The front and rear brake kit was fitted the week before the test and had been a comprehensive and thorough bedding in process including a couple more bleeds to make sure that the system was completely free of any air whatsoever. The Motul DOT 5.1 brake fluid was used to cope with the punishment the brakes were going to receive.
The original brakes were Performance Friction 405mm front and 381mm rear grooved discs with Performance Friction Carbon Metallic 08 front and rear pads all round, and I had used these all last year when I did over 20 track days. I had replaced some pads and front discs as they became worn out and badly cracked though still performing well. The surprising thing was the wear on the rear discs and the cracks that I experienced were almost unknown on other GT-R’s, and it was suggested that this had been caused by turning the VDC off completely and thus not allowing the heat to be maintained in the discs, and when used hard after a period of cooling (down a long straight or at the Ring in particular) they would be punished by being subjected to a massive increase in temperature from cold thus creating the damage. The PF brakes were good and always gave a good pedal without fade, but the severity of the cracking in conjunction with the aggressive 08 pads made them an expensive set of brakes that needed replacing fairly often. I am aware of my own weaknesses on track in terms of where I am extremely heavy on brakes whilst using the left foot braking technique that does put a lot through the discs and pads on such a heavy car.
John Miskin’s comments:
“I had only had the brakes fitted in time to get them bedded in at Bedford and then bled again prior to Silverstone. The Alcon Superkit can be a little troublesome to bleed completely, but it was worth it! The pedal feel was sensational and the lack of any squirming under heavy braking from speeds of over 160mph was impressive. It is the first time I have actually heard the Toyo 888’s protest under braking whilst still maintaining their phenomenal grip.
Initially the track was a little damp and after a few red flag incidents the proper test began with Jake Hill driving the car on a new set of Toyo 888’s fitted. I will let him tell his story later, but from a passengers perspective the Alcon Superkit was doing everything that Iain Litchfield said it would, with no noise, no drumming and no fade at all. Some of the expletives coming from Jake’s mouth gave me the inkling that he was enjoying the experience and certainly giving the brakes some severe punishment from the second lap onwards.
It was then my turn to try them out in anger using my track day skills (or lack of them) to evaluate the Alcon Superkit driving in my normal aggressive ‘late on the brakes’ and left foot braking into some of the faster corners. I found that as the laps progressed I could brake later and later into places like Copse and Stowe, and the only word I can use is confidence. I had the tyres of my choice and a set of brakes that allowed me to explore the maximum potential of the large Alcon Superkit set of brakes. I had the V Box running but have to admit that it was in track mode and wasn’t picking up the G forces or gear changes etc, but what I did see after downloading last night was the lateness of my braking without causing myself alarm and the speed I was carrying through the corners. Over nine laps I had three that were almost clear, and managed to set some times that I was surprised at, considering I was short shifting around the sound microphones in order not to alarm the sound police!.
Overlaying the laps that I had done last year, I found that I was braking about 50 metres later and through some of the faster corners I was able to carry more speed whilst feathering with my left foot. Needless to say I was impressed and Iain will be looking at them this week to confirm that they are still in fine fettle albeit with some good blue heat colours on the discs”
Jake Hill’s comments were as follows:
“I hope I am not repeating myself but I have driven John’s car on track many times with a variety of discs and pads fitted. John is particularly hard on his brakes and probably needs the confidence of a strong pedal and the fact that it is going to do what it says on the tin – i.e. STOP. I was impressed when I did the first test with the Performance Friction set up, but on some recent occasions I have noticed a drop off in brake performance and put it down to the severely cracked rear discs and the poor state of the fronts. In my opinion, the pads appear to be too aggressive for the discs as the discs seem to degenerate quicker than the pads.
Driving the car yesterday on new Toyo 888’s with the new Alcon Superkit was an absolute mega experience, and really suited the heavy GT-R. I always enjoy those first few laps on a new set of tyres, and once heat cycled, the car was as good as I have ever driven it. Could be because of the extra grunt that it seemed to have (John wouldn’t tell me what he had actually had done to the car) but overall the balance was fantastic and the way it stopped was as good as I have experienced in the Ginetta G55. That also had Alcon brakes but was lighter. The pedal feel was just right and as hard as I could try, I never felt any fade or performance drop off. The telemetry wasn’t showing G force in stopping, but the overlay graphs suggested better than the Performance Friction set up, but only by a small margin. It was the confidence factor that allowed me to push harder and leave the braking later than I dared before.
I didn’t do a ‘racing’ pit stop with the whole set of brakes smoking as every time I was preparing to do this a red flag came out which allowed me to cool everything down. I can only say that this massive brake kit seems to cope adequately with the weight of the GT-R and the Alcon Superkit with the Pagid RS29 pads would be my personal choice for a safe brake set up on track or hard fast motoring”
The brakes the GT-R comes with are suitable for normal and enthusiastic driving, but once the car is taken on track then you have to consider some options. The AP grooved disc is a good replacement at a very competitive price, particularly when used with Ferodo 2500 pads. For more aggressive track use, the 400mm front and 380mm rear Alcon’s have been used universally with Pagid 29’s and with some excellent results and many comments and write up’s can be viewed on the GT-R Register forum.
For extreme track use and high speed braking, the Performance Friction set that I have reported on before are great with the 08 pads but wear rate is high as the pads are quite aggressive. The discs will need replacing before the pads as they are almost too aggressive for the disc and tend to wear them out with the inevitable cracking and noise under heavy braking.
For the real track enthusiast and for drivers like me who really lean on their brakes, then the only real alternative before going down the Carbon Ceramic route is the Alcon 2014 Superkit with Pagid RS29 pads all round.
I have attached below the technical and background to the Alcon Superkit 2014 for those that like the marketing angle….
“This ultra-high performance brake kit is designed specifically to enhance the braking capabilities of very high performance road cars in a direct replacement package, this Alcon Super kit integrates advanced technology derived from Alcon’s involvement in top level motorsport, including F1, World Rally Championship, NASCAR and Japanese GT racing. Alcon have insured that their new upgrade offers the maximum performance, rigidity and weight reduction for the Nissan GT-R.
The “Super Kit” consists of an advanced 400mm diameter two-piece floating front discs, which is a significant 20mm larger than the original Brembo units. Despite the considerable increase in size the Alcon discs represent a weight saving over the originals with their cast internal bell.
The larger front discs are controlled by massive 6 piston monoblock callipers machined from solid aluminium billet. These huge callipers house high coefficient pads with a sizeable increase in surface area, providing a significant improvement in performance over the standard equipment.
For the rear of the GT-R, smaller 6 piston billet callipers are mated to 385mm diameter discs, up from the standard 380mm. This maintains the correct brake bias and allows the original parking brake to remain fully functional.
Alcon’s engineers worked closely with Litchfield to insure that both front and rear upgrades fit within the stock GTR 20″ wheels, and are compatible with the factory actuation system.
Extensive high speed track testing has been conducted on the new kit with drivers commenting on the improved pedal feel and consistent stopping performance which was previously unavailable with the original setup.
Alcon “Super Kit” Consists of:
- Machined from aerospace-grade aluminium alloy billet – higher strength to weight than die cast designs
- Monobloc 6 piston design for high stiffness (firm pedal) with low weight
- Piston bore sizes are staggered to ensure even pad wear
- Pin-mounted pads provide low threshold pressure and low noise
- Pads formulated for excellent resistance to fade at elevated temperatures
- Strong cold performance for start-up and city driving
- Low noise
- No additional parts are required for install this super kit to your GTR, all brackets, fixings, braided hoses and fluid are included.
- Two piece design featuring aerospace specification alloy bells for high strength with minimum weight
- Discs of unique iron alloy developed by Alcon to provide an optimum combination of bite, thermal stability and durability
- Unique crescent grooves on friction faces provide the bite usually associated with drilled discs without the attendant durability problems
- Directional curved cooling vanes for optimum cooling performance
- Alcon’s floating disc system designed to allow thermal expansion of the disc throughout its life while minimising the tendency to judder
The “Superkit” represents the very best in British design and technology. The front and rear complete kit is being offered at a special GT-R Owners Club price for members. This represents fantastic value for the GTROC members!
For more information and special offers please contact Litchfield Imports on 01684 850999 or firstname.lastname@example.org.